B2B Social Media Marketing: What’s the Real Deal on Effectiveness?

B2B Social Media Marketing: What’s the Real Deal on Effectiveness?

B2B Social Media Marketing Part 1: The Search for Success Stories There has been a lot of hype about B2B social media marketing. Engage actively on social media. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter can be very effective for B2C social media marketing. What about social media marketing in the B2B space? All of that business came through blogging and engagement on social media. Despite the fact that I have put a lot of time and effort into social media marketing and blogging, that is not how my team building and training companies have generated business. In an attempt to answer this question, over the years, I have put out many calls for B2B social media marketing success stories. If I could find out what was working, I could also implement these strategies, and share success stories in blog posts so that we all could benefit. So I started putting out calls for social media success stories. But I can tell you that over the years, the total value of the consulting and writing gigs that could be directly attributed to an initial query or contact on LinkedIn is well into six figures.” “LinkedIn and other social media plays a part in starting the conversation, but you need to combine other media both online and offline if you are going to be successful in converting them into clients.

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B2B Social Media Marketing Part 1: The Search for Success Stories

There has been a lot of hype about B2B social media marketing. Social media experts have been praising these platforms to the sky while pitching their coaching and consulting services. The advice, which we have all heard, goes something like this:

“Share your content for free through blog posts, videos, and webinars. Engage actively on social media. People will be so blown away by your brilliance that your phone will ring off the hook and you will be flooded with requests for quotes for your service.”

Clearly, that approach works for social media coaches and consultants. They have a captive audience of users on every social media platform, individuals and entrepreneurs who have the ability to engage their services. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter can be very effective for B2C social media marketing. So it is not surprising that consultants who specialize in each platform and pitch their services to individuals, entrepreneurs, and small business are doing well.

What about social media marketing in the B2B space? Is it effective for B2B lead generation and business development where the sales process is complex and multi-tiered?

Reports like the Social CEO report on CEO.com reveal that few decision makers are even on social media. 60% of Fortune 500 CEOs have no social presence whatsoever. Those who are on social media, tend to be inactive.

I have definitely experienced great success in securing blogging engagements through social media. In fact, I did not set out to become a professional blogger.

Based on the advice of social media experts, blogging was a strategy for marketing the core services of my companies: executive retreats, team building, keynote speaking, and training. In the process, editors found me. Since 2011, I have thoroughly enjoyed writing for many large portals. All of that business came through blogging and engagement on social media.

Despite the fact that I have put a lot of time and effort into social media marketing and blogging, that is not how my team building and training companies have generated business. It has come through:

· inquiries after people found my company websites through search engines

· referrals from business colleagues, clients, friends, and relatives

I have had the pleasure of travelling and working with corporate clients from 18 countries, however, only 2 engagements have come through social media. Despite extensive media coverage, only one client, which ended up being a long term client, found me through an article in a business magazine.

In spite of my active engagement on social media and in the blogosphere, I simply wasn’t getting the results I had expected. I wondered if I was doing something wrong.

In an attempt to answer this question, over the years, I have put out many calls for B2B social media marketing success stories. Despite numerous attempts, I have always come up empty.

I have never been afraid to ask tough questions. So I started digging deeper. “Where’s the beef? Where’s the proof that B2B social media marketing actually works?” In the process, I have ruffled some feathers. That was never my intention.

My reason for requesting B2B social media marketing success stories was a sincere desire to learn. If I could find out what was working, I could also implement these strategies, and share success stories in blog posts so that we all could benefit.

In Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill suggested that the best path to success is to find out what strategies are working for others and learn from them. Yet, when asked to back up their claims that B2B social media marketing is effective, some of the so-called experts have felt that they were being backed into a corner and they have bristled. One recently blocked me on LinkedIn. Another kicked me out of her 2 Facebook groups for starting calm and productive discussions about the effectiveness of Twitter and LinkedIn. There was no conflict. Just a constructive exchange of perspectives in a group in which there had been little engagement. Why are people so threatened? By asking tough questions, admitting what isn’t working, and brainstorming together, it is possible to come up with strategies that work.

I have been a big supporter of social media where I have been active since April, 2004 when I joined LinkedIn. I didn’t do much with it at first. (My involvement in online communities goes back to 1997 when my business was new and the Internet was in its infancy. I cut my teeth as a Geocities community leader. The training I received has stood me in good stead until today.)

In April, 2005, I joined Ryze.com, a business networking site that combines online networking with monthly meetings. Since I had been doing business in Malaysia for over 5 years by then, I joined the Malaysia Muhibbah Network. I introduced myself and posted about a 2 day workshop…

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